Most of us have paid a visit to an art studio a time or two. But unless you've paid a visit to one specific one in downtown Paso Robles, you probably haven't been to one like it. Get Out and About at Studios on the Park, and you'll likely leave with a new appreciation of the process that goes into creating art. From the outside, it looks like a pretty hip and cool art gallery. And it is. But it's more studio than gallery. And that's just what the founders of Studios on the Park were aiming for, says Sasha Irving, programs director for Studios on the park. "To provide people with the opportunity to have a direct connection with a local professional artist. To see the inspiration behind a piece." Studios on the Park is a non-profit, working art studio, with multiple artists creating here. The idea is to enhance the way people see art, by having them experience the process of watching a piece come to be. All artists who display and sell their works at Studios on the Park, create them there as well. "One of the nice things is you get to know your colleagues in art." says Artist Harold Spencer. "They're not just a signature on a painting that you see in an exhibition." Wander through here checking out the art on display, and you'll also see the artists painting, printing or putting together their next piece. It's kind of classic Paso Robles in that it takes any perceived snob factor out of a visit to an art studio, out of the picture. "We see over 70-thousand folks a year, and we do art Paso Style." says Irving. "That means it represents our local landscape and our really unique culture, and the community that's made it all possible for us." They want people of all walks of life to acquire an appreciation for art. And all ages. It's why you'll often find young people in here exploring their creative sides. And it's why they started a Kids Art Smart program in 2011. Through donations they've managed to bring every elementary student in Paso Robles to the studios for an arts "experience. "So that's over 4000 students that we've brought here for hands-on professional art classes with our resident artists." says Irving. The resident artists seem to enjoy it as much as the kids. "Sometimes they ask the best questions of all." says Spencer. "Questions that nail it right there!" At the end of every semester, each school gets to have a formal exhibition of each child's artwork here. Spencer says the impacts on the next generation are hard to measure. "What it does for the kids I think is extremely important. They develop a sense of their self worth, what they can do. And that will pay off down the road somewhere in their lives." There are similar facilities and programs further east. But this is a unique facility on the West coast. Fortunately, it's right in our own backyard. Right now there is an exhibition at the studios called "Eat Your Heart Out". It's art inspired by our appetite's objects of affection. Artists paired up with local chefs to create these original works of art. The exhibition runs through the 23rd. For more information click here.
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